UK & World News

  • 29 March 2014, 11:58

Boston Bomb Suspect's Lawyers Demand FBI Files

Lawyers for Boston bomb suspect Dzokhar Tsarnaev have asked the FBI to provide them with evidence which could suggest his older brother Tamerlan was the ringleader of the attack.

His legal team have requested records of contact the FBI had with Tamerlan, including allegations he was asked by the agents to act as an informant on Chechen Muslim communities in the US.

Prosecutors allege Dzokhar and 26-year-old Tamerlan built and planted two pressure-cooker bombs near the finish line of the Boston marathon as retaliation for US military action in Muslim countries.

Dzhokhar, 20, faces 30 federal charges, including using a weapon of mass destruction, and 16 other charges. If convicted, jurors can decide whether he will receive the death penalty.

His legal team hope that by convincing the jury their client was acting under the guidance, instruction and motivation of his brother, his life could be saved.

The request filed in court argues that "any evidence tending to show that Tamerlan supplied the motivation, planning, and ideology behind the Boston Marathon attack, and that his younger brother acted under his domination is material".

It added the jury's decision could rest on "the brothers' relative responsibility for conceiving and carrying out the attacks" and "the extent to which it views Tamerlan Tsarnaev as having induced or coerced his younger brother to help commit them."

Lawyers have also asked for any surveillance evidence which could prove Tamerlan had embarked on a campaign of so-called Holy War before his brother. Such evidence could prove their client's actions were influenced by his brother, they argue.

A report released this week by the US Homeland Security Committee suggests Tamerlan was monitored by government agents in 2011 and possibly in 2012.

The report adds that agents undertook a threat assessment of Tamerlan in response to a 2011 alert from the Russian government that he was becoming radicalised.

Tamerlan died in a shootout with police days after the bombing.

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